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Black Beauty Zucchini Summer Squash

Black Beauty Zucchini Summer Squash

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Black Beauty
Cucurbita pepo

45 days — The bush-type plants of 'Black Beauty' zucchini are early and very productive. Although you can use this summer squash at just about any size, we start picking fruit when they are about six to eight inches long by two inches in diameter and dark green in color. We prefer them at this young and tender stage when they are excellent lightly steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried. They reach a black-green to almost black at maturity.

During the "high season" of summer, unless you are checking your plants daily, the fruit size can get away from you very quickly! Medium sized to large fruit can still be cooked in the same way as noted above, but since they are maturing during "barbecue season," we like to quarter the zucchini lengthwise, and with the skin left on, coat them in olive oil, season to taste, and then grill them until tender but firm. Often our seasoning is simply fresh ground black pepper and salt, but experiment with herbs for fun flavor variations.

'Black Beauty' was one of the most popular zucchini varieties of the second half of the twentieth-century. Bred at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in Storrs, Connecticut, 'Black Beauty' was developed by stabilizing a cross between 'Salerno' and 'Caserta'.[1] It was introduced, and an "All-America Selection®" winner, in 1957. Each packet contains four grams, which is approximately 24 to 28 seeds.

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Planting Instructions: Choose a location that has warm, well-drained and fertile soil. Work in plenty of organic matter and mulch to conserve moisture.

Sow directly into the garden after any threat of frost has past. Sow one inch deep in hills or rows spaced 24 to 30 inches apart.

Harvest when the fruit is six to eight inches long or still tender. Harvest will be lengthened if you keep picking. Informational Resources:
  1. "Vegetable Cultivar Descriptions for North America - Squash, Lists 1-27 Combined," Edited by Linda Wessel-Beaver, Department of Agronomy and Soils,  University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
  2. Note: 'Salerno' was an improved Fordhook-type zucchini.